Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Today . . .
My thanks comes easily when all is going well, and the sun is shining down upon my world and all those that I love . . . when joy is easy to hold and to touch, and right within my grasp . . .
Yes, it is easy to be thankful when all is right . . . but wait . . . today I wish to reflect upon those times and the thanks which is not so easy to express . . . which does not come easily . . . for the things and times that put my thankful tongue on hold . . .
Today let me remember to give thanks not only for the sunlight, but for those darker hours, and the rain which falls in my life from time to time . . . the things that teach me fortitude.
Let me profess today a grateful heart, not merely for all the things that I do, and do well . . . but for my many failures that have taught me humility.
Let me express my gratitude for all the things that create inner turmoil, but which once resolved help to bring me serenity . . . and for my fears which have a wonderful way of building hope.
Let me breathe in appreciation for all those things that I see that tug on my heart strings and that teach me to be thoughtful . . . and for the wrongs that teach me to be fair, and for each violated trust that leaves loyalty in it's wake and as the core of it's lesson . . .
And today . . . let me not forget to whisper a thanks for these . . . contempt that teaches pity, the tear that continues to teach me joy, the pain that teaches me mercy and the loneliness that helps to teach me love . . .
As I reflect upon these things, may I be truly grateful and may my thanks come like a cup that runneth over, and over.
I thought I would give you a few Thanksgiving recipes this morning that you might find will come in handy for your celebrations tomorrow. First will be my turkey recipe, which I will be cooking tomorrow at work, and then a tasty side dish, which I know you will love.
*Herb Roasted Turkey*
Serves 12 to 14
This really is a moist and flavourful way to cook a turkey. The smell alone, when it is roasting, lures everyone into the kitchen. You can hardly wait for it to be done so you can tuck in to it. I have done this with turkey crowns as well with lots of success. I hope you will try it and like it as much as we do. This recipe was a grand prize winner in a Taste of Home turkey recipe contest.
14 pound turkey
(I like to use a free range bird, myself)
1 TBS salt
1 tsp pepper
18 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided
4 medium onions, sliced
4 celery ribs, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 TBS peppercorns
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp minced fresh sage
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp finely chopped chives
Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/325*F. Get out a large roaster. Remove any giblets etc. from your turkey and rinse it well. Pat it dry with some paper towelling.
Rub the surface of your turkey with salt and pepper and sprinkle inside the cavity with some salt and pepper as well. Place 12 sprigs of thyme in the cavity. Place the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and the remaining thyme sprigs in the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the turkey, breast side up, on top of the vegetables. Drizzle the butter all over the turkey and then, sprinkle with the minced herbs. Cover loosely with foil. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the foil and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer, basting every 20 minutes. The turkey is done when the juices run clear when you prick the turkey with a fork, and when the drumsticks are loose when lightly twisted. Remove from the oven to a heated platter and lightly cover with foil. Allow to stand for 20 minutes before carving.
For gravy, skim off any fat from the pan drippings. Add a couple of cups of stock to the pan and vegetables and bring to the boil to deglaze and loosen up any tasty bits from the bottom. Strain this into a saucepan. Put some cold water into a jar along with a few TBS of flour. Shake it really well and then strain it into the saucepan, whisking it in very carefully. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking the whole time and cook until bubbling and thick. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Place in a gravy boat for serving at the table.
Serve the turkey sliced and pass the gravy boat around!
*Cheddar Cauliflower and Carrot Gratin*
Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish, or 4 as a main course
This is a tasty vegetable gratin, just perfect as a side dish for those holiday meals that are looming. Served on it's own with a side salad it also makes quite a delicious lunch or light supper! Take note of my variations at the end!
1 cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
3 TBS flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
pinch each of freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg
2 ounces strong cheddar cheese grated
2 ounces strong cheddar cheese grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
Butter an 8 cup gratin dish and set aside.
Bring a saucepan of slightly salted water to the boil. Add the cauliflower and cook only until crispy tender. Scoop out with a slotted spoon, and place them into the gratin dish. (Don't get rid of the water!!) Add the carrots to the same water and cook them until crispy tender. Scoop them out with the slotted spoon and scatter them over top of the cauliflower.
Measure and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Melt the butter for the sauce in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for several minutes. Whisk in the reserved cooking liquid and the milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and thickens and bubbles. Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Blend in the cheese, stirring until it melts. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Pour this over the vegetables in the gratin dish.
Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F.
Mix together the melted butter, bread crumbs and cheese. Sprinkle this evenly over top of the casserole. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Pop under the grill for another 2 to 3 minutes to crisp up the topping. Serve immediately.
Variations: You can substitute any combination of vegetables for the ones suggested. Some tasty convinations are Brussels sprous and broccoli, Parsnips, celery and onions, Potatoes and rutabaga, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, parsnips and carrots, jerusalem artichokes and potatoes, butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Cook a total of about 2 1/2 pound of vegetables and proceed as per recipe.
I'm doing Mince Pies over on The English Kitchen today!
Oh, and if you have not entered my Christmas Giveway yet, make sure you pop over HERE to do so! The more the merrier! The winner could be YOU!!
Pssstt!!! Breaking News!!! Donny Osmond has won Dancing with the Stars 2009!! Yayy!!!